Using business data to make informed decisions
Smart decisions are informed decisions. To put your best foot forward in business, you need to have the right data-driven insights to guide you
Knowledge is power. In business, it's the power to make better-informed decisions — backed by data.
COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in businesses worldwide – a trend that will continue. With new technology comes an increased volume of data. The challenge for businesses is distilling data into meaningful insights that help guide management decisions, drive efficiency, and give a sharp overview of how a company is tracking over time.
Modern businesses are implementing data-driven decisions and strategies – ignoring hunches and looking to technology such as business apps and digital tools to provide accurate insights that help drive business forward.
Harness real-time business data
Harnessing real-time data has several advantages; for one, it gives business owners the ability to make savvy decisions based on relevant, timely information. Read alongside historical data – be that for the previous day, week, month or year – you can track performance, identify and compare trends, evaluate what works, make projections, and develop strategic business plans. Apps put this data at your fingertips.
With different apps supporting various elements of your business, you get a 360-view of your performance. From point-of-sale apps such as Vend that give you an online storefront, in-built payment and reporting options, to Expensify, a clever app that manages expenses, transactions, and money matters.
Decode business analytics to understand performance
Data-driven organizations make better strategic decisions, enjoy high operational efficiency, improved customer satisfaction, and robust profit and revenue levels. According to an article in Towards Data Science, businesses that pay attention data are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain those customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable as a result!
Data and analytics are vital to reducing inefficiency and streamlining business operations. Using reporting and analytical dashboards to identify data trends provides managers with the insights they need to monitor cash flow, accurately assess sales performance, and benchmark against external factors.
Avoid getting bogged down by overwhelming volumes of data; identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are closely associated with your business goals. Set realistic targets for yourself, then use your data to inform strategies that steer your business towards those goals. And don't worry, you're not alone. Technology can help you collate and translate your data into actionable insights. For example, 9Spokes aggregates data across your business, your apps, and your banks to deliver meaningful insights you can put to work.
Understand your customers with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a powerful web analytics tool that tracks and reports website traffic. It’s a vital decision-making resource for any business with an online presence. Google Analytics provides information on user demographics, behavior flows, and cohort analysis, and generates reports that help you to analyze performance and take informed actions.
Google Analytics features include:
Segments: a function that groups users and provides a view of how users interact with a website. View segments such as direct traffic, bounce rate, or new users, or use customized segments to track users who hit different benchmarks in your sales funnel.
Goals: specific actions that you want website visitors to complete. Define goals on Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Intelligence events: send alerts when there are surges or dips in traffic, increased bounce rates, or higher levels of page views. This works alongside goals, notifying you when you achieve one.
Traffic trends: allow users to compare traffic from different periods to understand website performance and user engagement.
Social media: monitor social media through Google Analytics to see which platforms drive traffic to your website, then track subsequent behavior on your site. The analytics tool tracks visitors who immediately convert, but also those who return later to make a purchase.
Check out our guide to getting started with Google Analytics — a useful starting point for those looking to harness the power of Google's analytics tool.
Managing risk through information
Analysis of your business' data can highlight trends that may otherwise go under the radar. It can also flag potential issues such as increasing churn rate – the rate at which customers stop doing business – so that you can take the appropriate action fast.
By gathering data from multiple sources across your business, you're better able to track cash flow, credit capacity, operational risk, and even asset-liability risk. Ultimately, it helps you to assess how you're performing financially, ensure sustainability, and highlight concerns before they become issues.
Knowing your business information helps reduce risk. For example, if you're thinking of expanding your premises, you can assess what your projected business growth can support, whether you have the cash flow to facilitate a site extension, or the capacity to recruit new talent.
Data is knowledge is power. To make the business decisions that help you to drive your business forward, harness your own information. Using new technology to your advantage, in the form of streamlined data platforms and analytics apps, can help you to make the right moves along the way.